No Foul Play Suggested, But IRS Tapes Still At Large
While the IRS regularly shares information with Kansas City and hundreds of other jurisdictions around the country, this is the first time information was sent to Kansas City on tapes like the ones sent in August.
Kansas City Assistant City Manager Rich Noll learned of the missing tapes in December. Since that time an investigation into the loss has ensued with no results. Employee desks and other logical places have been searched.
Reading the information on the tapes requires specialized software that is not readily available and cannot be loaded on a typical laptop computer. The software that Kansas City uses is kept in a locked area.
The IRS has been unwilling to comment on the specific information that is recorded on the tapes, but typically information shared between the IRS and government agencies includes taxpayer names, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, and perhaps employer information as well.
The U.S. House Government Reform Committee reported  last fall that 788 cases of lost or compromised government data have occurred since January 2003. This amount doesn’t include the widely publicized losses of data by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the last few years. It was a laptop containing sensitive data stolen from the VA office last year that triggered the committee investigation and report.